Hoping for environmental solutions offered by presidential candidates

Hoping for environmental solutions offered by presidential candidates

The second round of the presidential candidate debate will be held at Sultan Hotel, Jakarta, on Sunday (Feb 17, 2019). (ANTARANews /Glenn Ardianus)

Jakartal (ANTARA News) - Millions of Indonesian television audience hope that the upcoming second round of presidential election debate will be different from the previous one, which was considered unattractive due to cheat sheets given to presidential candidates several days prior to the debate.

Incumbent Joko Widodo and rival Prabowo Subianto will meet in the second debate featuring five themes, namely energy, the environment, infrastructure, food, and natural resources.

The second of the total five debates is scheduled to be held at Sultan Hotel, South Jakarta, on Feb 17, 2019, at 8 p.m. local. The General Election Commission (KPU) has vowed this time not to reveal the questions to the candidates in advance.

Unlike the first debate, Jokowi and his rival, Subianto, will face off in the second debate without the vice presidential candidates accompanying them.

Indonesia will organize simultaneous legislative and presidential elections on April 17, 2019, across the country.

Of its total population of 260 million people, over 185.6 million are registered as illegible voters in Indonesia.

The 2019 presidential election is considered by many as a repeat of the bitter 2014 presidential race, wherein Jokowi and Subianto are again set to go head-to-head.

Seeking a second term, 57-year-old Jokowi has picked Ma`ruf Amin (75), chairman of the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI), as his partner, while retired general Subianto (67) has chosen Sandiaga Salahuddin Uno (49), a successful entrepreneur and former deputy governor of Jakarta, as his running mate.

The first debate was organized on Jan 17, 2019, based on the themes, namely law, human rights, terrorism, and corruption.

Both candidate camps have expressed satisfaction at the performances of Jokowi and Subianto, respectively, during the first debate.

Several people on social media, however, expressed disappointment regarding the first debate, as they found it to be lackluster and blamed it on the questions revealed in advance by the General Election Commission (KPU) to the candidates.

"This is what happens if the questions are already given to the candidates," Feri Amsari, the director of the Constitution Study Center of the University of Andalas, West Sumatra, stated.

In the first presidential election debate, the KPU had offered a list of five questions to both presidential candidate pairs several days before the debate.

For the second debate, the KPU has appointed eight panelists, comprising academicians and NGO activists.

The panelists consisted of six academicians and two NGO activists, Wahyu Setiawan, commissioner of KPU, said on Jan 31, 2019.

The six academicians are the rector of the Sepuluh November Institute of Technology (ITS/Surabaya), the rector of the Bogor Institute of Bogor (IPB), an academician from the University of Airlangga (Unair/Surabaya), an academician from the University of Gajah Mada (UGM/Yogyakarta), an academician from the Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB), and academician from the University of Diponegoro (Undip/Semarang), respectively. The academician from Unair, however, later cancelled his participation.

The two NGO activists are, respectively, from the Indonesian Environmental Forum (WALHI) to be represented by its Executive Director Nur Hidayati, and the Agrarian Reform Consortium.

Indonesia is one of the world`s largest biodiversity nations and has the world`s third largest forest areas. The country has many environmental problems, such as deforestation and marine pollution, due to plastic wastes.

The environment, however, is so far not much mentioned by both presidential candidates and their running mates during the election campaign activities, which began in October 2018 and will end in April 13, 2019.

Hence, the Indonesian Environmental Forum (Walhi) expressed hope that the presidential candidates would come up with concrete offers to solve the country`s environmental problems and address the impacts of climate change during the upcoming debate.

"They should have more concrete offers concerning environmental issues, for instance, the ecological disaster that is getting worse from year to year," Yuyun Harmono, the campaign manager on climate justice of Walhi, stated.

Human activities are among the major factors that induce ecological disaster, as they damage the environment and trigger climate change, he pointed out.

The human activities are also related to economic development so far, he added.

An economic paradigm exploits natural resources, harms the environment, and triggers ecological disaster, as nature reacts to such a paradigm, he added.

Meanwhile, some two thousand military and police officers will be deployed to guard the implementation of the second debate.

The security measure will be focused in and around the venue of the debate, spokesman of the Jakarta Police Senior Commissioner Argo Yuwono remarked recently.

In line with the security measure, three security rings will be set up, with the first security ring to be handled by the presidential security forces, the second by the joint military and police team, and the third by police officers.

The third debate is scheduled for March 17, and only the running mates will participate to debate on education, health, manpower, and social and cultural topics.

The fourth debate, on March 30, will have presidential candidates and their running mates on the stage to speak about ideology, government, defense and security, and international relations.

No date had yet been decided for the fifth debate, with four of them being on stage to debate on the economy, social welfare, finance and investment, and trade and industry.